Holden's long overdue medium SUV contender, the Equinox, is about to enter the market to take on the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, and fellow cabin-space leaders the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail.

Today the Lion brand announced a very competitive sub-$30,000 starting price for the entry automatic version in a bid to make up for lost time, plus a very well-specified LS+ grade at $32,990 primed to lure a number of buyers away from better-known rivals.

SUV sales in Australia have grown almost three-fold to 440,000 annually over the past decade, and now outsell conventional passenger cars. Yet Holden's main offering in the dominant mid-sized segment has been the aged Captiva sold entirely on being cheap.

But this new Holden is different, says the company.

“Equinox is a game-changer for Holden and will undoubtedly battle it out at the top of the mid-size SUV segment,” said Holden’s executive director of sales, Michael Filazzola. Those are fighting words.

The range comes with both front- and all-wheel drive variants as per the class norm, and sits on a version of the D2XX platform used under the Astra small car, in a similar way to which a Volkswagen Tiguan is related to a Golf.

The entry engine is a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 127kW of power, while the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol range-topper makes 188kW - the highest of any offering in the class, beating out the 178kW Ford Escape. A 1.6-litre diesel powertrain launches next year.

Holden is yet to confirm torque figures for the engines, though we do know they use a six- or nine-speed automatic gearbox, or a six-speed manual on certain grades.

AWD models will come with a feature that allows drive to the rear axle to be disconnected at the push of a button to save fuel.

“In terms of practicality, Equinox has a huge cargo space of 1798 litres when the fold-flat seats are down, a hands-free power tailgate and the one of the highest towing capacities in the segment," Holden added.

As with a raft of Holden's latest products, lots of engineering work has been undertaken locally to ensure this new crop of vehicles rides, handles and performs the way a Holden should.

The Captiva seven-seater will remain on sale alongside the five-seat Equinox until early next year when the bigger seven-seat Acadia arrives.

There's also a launch offer including seven year/175,000km warranty that, at this stage, will no longer be offered from January 1, 2018.


2018 Holden Equinox pricing (before on-road costs):

    • Equinox LS 1.5 manual FWD - $27,990
    • Equinox LS 1.5  auto FWD - $29,990
    • Equinox LS+ 1.5 auto FWD - $32,990
    • Equinox LT 2.0 auto FWD - $36,990
    • Equinox LTZ 2.0 auto FWD - $39,990
    • Equinox LTZ 2.0 auto AWD - $44,290
    • Equinox LTZ-V 2.0 auto AWD - $46,290
    • Diesel prices TBC 

Colours

  • Summit White
  • Glory Red
  • Blue Steel
  • Son of a Gun Grey
  • Nitrate Silver
  • Pepperdust
  • Tuxedo Black
  • Prestige paint - $550 premium

MY18 Equinox LS:

  • 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine
  • Six-speed automatic/manual transmission
  • Six airbags
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Rear view camera and rear park assist
  • ISOFIX child seat anchorage system (x2)
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Automatic headlights with LED DRLs
  • Active Noise Cancellation (auto only)
  • 7.0-inch  colour touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • iPod integration including Siri Eyes Free
  • USB input (2x front, 2 x rear) and charge point (1 x front, 1 x rear)

LS+ features over LS:

  • Holden Eye forward facing camera system AEB
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Forward Collision Alert with head-up warning
  • Blind Spot Alert
  • Safety Alert driver’s seat
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Automatic high beam assist
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Power folding exterior mirrors
  • Diesel engine option (coming 2018)

LT features over LS+:

  • 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Satellite navigation with live traffic updates
  • Heated front seats
  • Front parking sensors
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Provision for roof rack mounting
  • One-touch 60/40 split-folding rear seats with rear cargo release
  • HID headlights
  • Diesel engine option (coming 2018)

LTZ features over LT:

  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Advanced park assist (automatic perpendicular and parallel parking)
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Leather-appointed seating
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Roof rails
  • DAB+
  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • Bose premium audio system
  • LED headlights
  • Power driver’s seat with lumbar and memory
  • Adaptive AWD system (optional)
  • Diesel engine option (coming 2018)

LTZ-V features over LTZ:

  • Dual-panel panoramic sunroof
  • Heated leather steering wheel
  • Power passenger seat with lumbar and memory
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Adaptive AWD system (standard)
  • Diesel engine option (coming 2018)